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Humanities Libertexts

5.6: Capitalization

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    6737
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    Rules for Capitalization

    • Capitalize the first word of a sentence.
    • Always capitalize nationalities, races, languages, and religions. For example, American, African American, Hispanic, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and so on.
    • Do not capitalize nouns for people, places, things, streets, buildings, events, and titles when the noun is used in general or common way.
    • Capitalize days of the week, months of the year, and holidays.
    • Capitalize titles of positions when they are accompanied by proper names.
      • Examples: President Obama, Governor Scott Brown, Judge Wheeler.
    • Capitalize the names of specific movements or events.
      • Examples: the Civil Rights Movement, World War II, D-Day
    • Capitalize the letters that make up abbreviations for organizations or agencies.
      • Examples: FEMA, EPA, NFL. CNN.
    • Computer-related words such as “Internet” and “World Wide Web” are usually capitalized; however, “email” and “online” are never capitalized.
    • Proper nouns—the names of specific people, places, objects, streets, buildings, events, or titles of individuals—are always capitalized.
    Table of Common vs. Proper Nouns
    Common Noun Proper Noun
    museum The Art Institute of Chicago
    theater Apollo Theater
    country Malaysia
    uncle Uncle Javier
    doctor Dr. Jackson
    book Pride and Prejudice
    college Smith College
    war the Spanish-American War
    historical event The Renaissance

    key takeaways

    • Learning and applying the basic rules of capitalization is a fundamental aspect of good writing.
    • Identifying and correcting errors in capitalization is an important writing skill.
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